Legal Correspondent

Petitioner seeks CBI probe into its production and distribution

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre, the States of Maharashtra and Gujarat, and the Shabarai-Kumbh Mela Organising Committee on a petition seeking a direction to ban the circulation of compact discs (CDs) suggesting that Christians be attacked.

A three-Judge Bench, comprising Justice Ruma Pal, Justice A.R. Lakshmanan and Justice Dalveer Bhandari, ordered the notice.The petition filed by an organisation, ANHAD, enclosing the CDs came up for admission on January 30. The judges had posted the case for hearing on Friday saying they would watch the CDs.

The petitioner submitted that the Shabri Kumbh Samorah Aayojan Samiti had made a CD titled "Shri Shabri Kumbh 2006: Spirituality along with the wave of patriotism." The CD purportedly suggests that "Christians be attacked and beheaded." These CDs were being widely circulated, distributed and openly sold in Gujarat, Maharashtra and in the North-Eastern States.

The petitioner said "in this CD, the narrator while talking about Hindu tradition, culture, makes constant references to the evil forces and foreign powers that are out to destroy the Hindu religion whilst simultaneously flashing pictures of Churches and the Cross... "

"Further, certain visual clips/imagery contained in this CD suggest the viewer to adopt aggressive and militant methods in order to combat these forces for the defence of the Hindu religion. The tenor of this CD changes its complexion into one of religious instigation. The narrator recounts how Swami Aseemanand, who frequently toured these tribal areas, came across an anti-Hindu mentality and conspiracy and therefore went from house to house, teaching the tribals about the essence of Hindu faith and religion, thereby bringing about a religious reawakening and social awareness."

Expressing concern and shock on the circulation of this CD, the petitioner said the Centre had the responsibility to ensure secularism. The Gujarat Government had not initiated any action on those who produced the CD or its distributors. The petitioner sought a direction for a CBI probe into the production and distribution of this CD, the seizure of all the CDs in circulation and to prosecute all those responsible for it.